Everyday cheapskate: 4 recipes for homemade DIY lawn and garden fertilizer | Lifestyles

I love a beautiful yard, but I hate spending a lot of money to get it that way, which explains why I am always looking for do-it-yourself, cheap ways to kill weeds, grow flowers and feed lawns.

I have come across some very clever tips and tricks, not the least of which is to reclassify the dandelion as a low-maintenance, hearty ground cover. While you ponder that suggestion, take a look at these clever ideas to make your own landscape supplies.

In a large bin or bucket, mix 4 pounds of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) with a bag of your favorite lawn food that covers 2,500 square feet. Now, feed your lawn the same amount of this mixture as recommended on the lawn food bag. You’ll save a lot of money because you’ll be using only half the normal amount of fertilizer. Plus, this formulation cuts down on nitrogen, which makes your lawn grow so fast. You’ll have the wonderful deep-green color and better root structure, and you won’t have to mow as often.

Try this on your lawn every three weeks during the summer. (With every third snack, add 1/2 cup light corn syrup or molasses to the mixture.)

  • 1 can beer
  • 1 cup children’s no tears shampoo* (non-antibacterial)
  • Household ammonia

Pour the beer and shampoo (and corn syrup when it’s the third snack) into a 20-gallon hose-end sprayer jar*. Fill up the jar with ammonia and apply, following the instructions on the hose-end sprayer. You’re going to have very happy grass.

Yummy Treat for Vegetables

If you want some startling growth in your vegetable garden, mix up a batch of this artillery punch. All of this smelly stuff goes into that 20-gallon hose-end sprayer*:

  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup household ammonia
  • 1/4 cup fish emulsion (available at garden supply store)
  • 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons children’s shampoo (non-antibacterial)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant tea granules

Apply to vegetables (using the 20-gallon hose-end sprayer*) early in the day, one time halfway through the growing season.

This is a preventive measure to keep diseases and bugs away. Start using it early in the season on everything — lawn, flowers, shrubs, vegetables and fruits.

  • 1 cup antiseptic mouthwash
  • 1 cup flea and tick shampoo (make sure it contains “pyrethrum” or “pyrethrins”)
  • 1 cup chewing tobacco juice

Wait! You don’t have to start chewing and spitting to make this recipe. Go into the store and buy a container of chewing tobacco. Dump it into an old nylon stocking or large coffee filter, tie it off and steep uncovered in 1 quart of boiling water until the water turns disgustingly brown. Put 1 cup of it along with the other ingredients into your trusty 20-gallon hose-end sprayer*. Fill balance of jar with warm water and apply to about 2,500 square feet. Keep the kids and pets away while applying. Any remaining mix or tobacco juice should be clearly labelled and kept out of reach of children.

*Note: That 20-gallon fertilizer hose-end sprayer is a 32-ounce (1 quart) jar with a sprayer attachment that connects to the end of your garden hose. This sprayer has a tube inside that siphons the correct ratio of tonic out of the jar as the water passes through the sprayer to correctly dilute the tonic with 20 gallons of water (which means it works at a rate of 1.6 ounces of solution per gallon of water).

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